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1996 Ch Calon Segur

December 12, 2011

I raved quite a bit about Brawn Steakhouse last month, but I’m afraid I have to take back my words, for my return trip on 10 December 2011 for my birthday dinner proved to be disappointing. For a full cost dinner that’ll set each diner back by SGD100-150, exclusive of corkage at SGD40++, my steak had better be excellent, the service and ambience worthy of mention, and, in particular, the wine service immaculate. Sadly, Brawn doesn’t seem to know how to position itself. The interior decor is clearly modern chic (veering towards some degree of vulgarity with its liberal use of mirrors and rows of bright bulbs) but the music, a selection of Top 40 hits, is way too loud, the wait staff (especially the manager, of all people) neither speak nor articulate well, the wine service consistently inattentive (even though only two other tables were occupied then) where my glass was allowed to go empty more than once and I had to reach for the decanter myself, and the ribeye decidedly unremarkable and overdone.

Luckily, the 1996 Ch Calon Segur, decanted on site, turned out to be the sole saving grace for the evening. Dull purplish red, but it exuded the unmistakable characteristics of a mature claret – a hallowed glow of warm plummy fruit with notes of cedar, briar, wild berries, leather, cinnamon and forest floor, supported by the slightly salty tone of St-Estephe clay. The fruit came to life with further aeration, beautifully integrated with the soft-grained tannins, with nuances of mushrooms, herbs and cigar box that only time can produce, soft and fleshy, imparting a very lovely finish that persisted.

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